HIGHER and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Oppah Muchinguri yesterday said Government had released outstanding salaries for State university lecturers and staff to end strikes which had forced the University of Zimbabwe to temporarily close.
Lecturers at State universities, including Midlands State University (MSU), National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) and the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) abandoned lectures last week in protest at the non-payment of February salaries, and last year’s bonuses.
Muchinguri, speaking to reporters in Harare yesterday, said she met with representatives of university staff before appealing to Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa for an urgent solution to end strikes at the institutions of higher learning, as well as a demonstration by students at the UZ.
“I wish to confirm the position taken as follows: that salaries will be mobilised and released before the end of the day, Tuesday, March 17, 2015, whilst the bonus will be staggered,” she said.
She said lecturers should return to work immediately.
“Pursuant to this resolve, members of staff in all State Universities are requested to resume normal teaching, learning and research activities with immediate effect,” she said. Muchinguri said Treasury highlighted financial challenges Government is facing and efforts being made to address the situation at State universities.
“Treasury officials expressed their sincerest regret over the dismal failure to meet the dates designated as pay dates,” she said.
Meanwhile, the UZ announced on Tuesday it was closing until March 24, 2015, after students demonstrated in solidarity with lecturers and non-academic staff.
But Muchinguri said the UZ will open for lectures today.
“We’ve been communicating with Vice Chancellor Levy Nyagura to discuss the way forward given what we agreed with workers’ representatives. He did agree that he took the decision to close because of the demonstrations which took place,” she said.
“We both have agreed that activities have to resume and UZ will be opened tomorrow morning (today) with lectures. I hope all the institutions will adhere to the directive.” — New Ziana.